AnalysisUncategorized

Josh Hader is Immaculate

Like most children as I have gotten older, moved away and started a family of my own I have looked for things to use to bond with my parents. My dad and I have the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball. Saturday evening, after watching the heroics of Josh Hader my dad was the first person I called to share the moment. He had been listening to the game on the radio and heard Bob Uecker enthusiastically call the top of the 9thinning. When I asked him if he was aware of what just happened, that Josh Hader pitched an Immaculate Inning his response was, “I have never even heard of that.” This is the conversation that followed.

Nate:

An Immaculate Inning (as I hope anyone reading this already knows) is an inning where a pitcher strikes out the side using only 9 pitches. In the history of Major League Baseball there have been 9,622 pitchers that have played in a game since the National League was founded in 1876. Out of those 9,622 pitchers only 88 pitchers have thrown an Immaculate Inning. Roughly 0.9% of all pitchers have achieved this. To think of it another way since 1876 there have been 217,121games played and there have been 299 no hitters while only 93 Immaculate Innings.

Dad:

That’s cool. How did he manage that?

Nate:

I wish I knew. What is really interesting though is in Hader’s three innings of work so far he has thrown 30 pitches. All 30 of these pitches have been his Four Seam fastball.  He has yet to throw a breaking ball! Further, the average speed of his fastball is up just over 2% from last season.

Dad:

Do you think there will be another one this year?

Nate:

What’s interesting is while many of the feats we once looked for from pitchers: no-hitters, perfect games, 20 strikeout games are less and less likely to happen. On the other hand the rate of Immaculate Innings has been increasing. A cool example of this is 45 Immaculate Innings have occurred since the year 2000.  That is 45%! Whereas only 50 of the 299 no hitters have happened during that same period (16.7%).

Dad:

I wonder why that is?

Nate:

I am sure there are a bunch of reasons. Most of them revolve around more limited pitcher usage.  Pitchers are being used less during any given game. Between 2010 and 2018 (9 seasons) there were 996 complete games thrown. Between 2001-2009 (9 previous seasons) there were 1,505.

Dad:

Well, that is all very cool. I’m going to bed.

Nate:

As you fall asleep think about this, batters have swing at 22 of Hader’s pitches. Of the 9 batters he has faced Hader has struck out 7 of them. 

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Featured Image: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

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Nate Gilman

Die hard baseball history and Sabermetric fan. Father of 2 great kids. Love the Milwaukee Brewers. Follow up on Twitter @GilmanNate

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